Spears, Pikes, Halberds and Pole-Arms (Long Weapons)

    • @Squirrelloid: very good post, however duel of polearm vs sword and shield I have different opionion. There's points I would extend:

      Squirrelloid wrote:

      (Ultimately, the swiss proved the pike didn't need a variety of heads to be effective, and it's length drove sword-based infantry from the battlefield almost entirely).
      I would say Swiss pikes really drove away (also Swiss) halberds, flails & glaives, there were no more sword based infantry at that time. Those came back a bit later in the form of Rodeleros with Spain joining the play, when everyone was trying to find a workaround of pikemen stalemate.

      A nice picture of push of pike. Two columns of pikeman clash. On the flanks halbardiers engage greatswords in skirmish combat.
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      I wanted to weigh in on this debate from my own perspective. The main assumption that I make, is that this is a high fantasy game and therefore Interesting choices are preferable to historical realism. If I wanted to play a historical game there are a myriad of systems out there with wonderful rules to recreate amazing battles from the past. If I wanted realism, I would play one of them. The Ninth Age to me, is a game of rule of cool with powerful wizards, and monsters running around, and warriors riding on impossible creatures. spears do look cool, but so do halbreds, swords, axes, really big swords, models with two swords, etc. Infantry should be encouraged to take different kinds of weapons, and they should be balanced against each other so that they are all viable- regardless of what was most effective historically.

      There is a lot of movement in the rules to reflect this, and T9A does have different rules for different weapons. The issue in this thread is that the spear is currently two strong and the other options are less viable in comparison. It doesn't matter if this is historically accurate or not, it lowers the amount of choice players have, and makes the game more one dimensional.

      Spear: FiER, Armour Piercing (1), Lethal Strike (Preferred Targets), 1 handed

      The current spear rules are problematic for several reasons.

      First is that they are offer too many advantages over their competing options. They have comparable attacks from the front to Paired Weapons, Armour Piercing (1) and FiER gives them comparable damage and armour penetration to halbreds, and unlike those weapons they can pair with a shield for their own armour save, and Lethal Strike vs Cav just because. When I am building a list, I should be choosing a weapon based on my army composition, and all of the different weapons should be viable- this means about as effective per point as any other option. The game is close to this right now. Paired Weapons, Sword + Board, and Halbred all feel about right relative to each other in terms of what they bring to the table.

      Paired Weapons for volume of attacks at the expense of defense
      Halbred for quality of attacks at the expense of defense
      Sword + Board for evading attacks
      Spears are the problem. They are too versatile and offer too much of everything for too low of a price.

      We need to figure out what we wants spears to accomplish, and give them the ability to do that. They aren't balanced now, and they need to be brought in line with other melee options for the variety and health of the game.

      I'm only briefly going to get into this whole "flank" thing. People often say "Spears aren't great on the flank, so just flank em!", Its an argument people use to try to dismiss complaints about Spear's power by oversimplifying the situation. Main combat units typically don't get flank charged by ranked opposing main combat blocks unless something goes horribly. Even against mounted units like Knights. Because of the way turns are structured opponents will generally have a chance to face oncoming enemies, and because of the way frontage is angled its fairly easy to place multiple units in the front arc of a main combat block. If you find yourself in a situation where a main combat block has threatening ranked combat blocks of an opponent on multiple sides and you have no chaff which can redirect at least one of those charges- you have been out played and that unit should be destroyed- and likely will be destroyed no matter what weapon options they took! Obviously Flank charges happen all the time, things like fast cavalry or cow boy characters and occasionally chariots, but those units typically need a large ranked unit in the front of the enemy to deal with stread fast and generate additional static combat resolution- and if there is a ranked unit in front, the spears still get their supporting attacks.


      Second, Spears hard counter units that already were weak to infantry formations, Heavy Cavalry. Spears even further reduces the effectiveness of Heavy Cavalry- especially so in a rule set where they are superior to almost every other infantry weapon. How often do you see Heavy Cavalry? Be honest here. Kingdom of Equitaine is a special case, so I'm not going to talk about them. Look at competitive tournament lists. How many serious lists use Heavy Cavalry combat blocks? How many SA lists take Raptor Riders? How many DE lists take Dread Knights? How many O&G lists take Boar Headbashers? Seriously, how often did you see Heavy Cavalry in 8th edition- before spears gained a bunch of special rules to help take them down? The naked truth of the matter is that Heavy Cavalry was under powered against infantry before spears got supercharged. That statement has been true since 8th edition was introduced, for nearly every Heavy Cavalry unit. Even Chaos Knights saw or see little play. Heavy Cavalry isn't the problem, and Infantry shouldn't need a hard counter weapon to it. If argued that Spears are needed because of Monstrous Cavalry, that is a problem with Monstrous Cavalry and those units maybe should be nerfed and brought in line with Heavy Cavalry in terms of effectiveness per point. This post isn't even going to get into the general problem with Stomps and other free auto hits. That said, if Monstrous Cavalry is the problem, it shouldn't be fixed by introducing an overpowered infantry weapon which over shadows all the other infantry weapons- Monstrous Cavalry should be weakened.
      I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
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      Good analysis of the spear @akaen.
      IMO, introducing straight AP(1) not only creates a balance problem, but it also grants a bonus against enemies that it shouldnt.
      If a hand weapon represents all kind of one-handed weapon (also including axes, hammers and maces), then it doesnt make sense that a spear is better even without FieR.
      I see only one situation where the spear rule created an interesting option....that's characters with spears what before was useless.

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      WhammeWhamme wrote:

      Spears are still much weaker than great weapons and flails. Would happily pay the 4 to 6 ppm for those instead, every time. As such, spears are currently the middle of the weapon power band, and anything below should be buffed to match.
      spears dont need a nerf they need an advantage that makes sense like
      - initiative bonus in whatever situation
      - bonus against fast enemies that charge to the front (lethal strike IMO is not enough respectively rolling lucky 6s maybe is not the appropriate design for a weapon or even the special rule itself)

      To all players who want weapons to be at least a little realistic, the changes to spears (AP (1)) and paired weapons (+1 Initiative) are more than weird.
      And there are players (like me) who dont just want any rules as long as they are balanced and playable.
      A human with a lance on horse charges a human with paired weapons (2 swords or whatever). Who should attack first?

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      DJWoodelf wrote:

      A human with a lance on horse charges a human with paired weapons (2 swords or whatever). Who should attack first?
      Yes but a human with a long spear would strike first. He would spear the horse. A Knight travelling at 20 to 30 MPH is therefore - in the majority of cases - likely to hit the dirt.
      In 9th Age I like the fact that all mundane weapons have their own advantages. Are they all historically correct - no - but it does mean that the players can choose to use what weapon they want. Anyway are spears OP ? Not in the view of the majority of EofS players who all seem to prefer the Halberd!!!

      WhammeWhamme wrote:

      Lances and Light Lances should do impact hits, yes. (And then trading Lethal Strike for some kind of bonus vs. Impact hits would be an improvement) - but spearmen should be good allrounders.
      Sorry but have to disagree. With a long spear, pike or even the Halberd the Infantry would strike first in real life. Therefore I would be against Cavalry getting impact hits.
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      wombat wrote:

      DJWoodelf wrote:

      A human with a lance on horse charges a human with paired weapons (2 swords or whatever). Who should attack first?
      Yes but a human with a long spear would strike first. He would spear the horse. A Knight travelling at 20 to 30 MPH is therefore - in the majority of cases - likely to hit the dirt.
      that depends.
      Various sources show that most lances were longer than a basic spear.
      The longest lances were in between of spears and pikes.

      Comparing 9th age weapons, the light lance is as long as a spear which in fact IS a spear but just needs a separate weapon entry for being used mounted.

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      wombat wrote:

      ...
      Anyway are spears OP ? Not in the view of the majority of EofS players who all seem to prefer the Halberd!!!
      ...
      Again, spears arent OP. They just give a wrong bonus (straight AP). This should be removed and instead another bonus added
      a) against charging units with swiftstride OR/AND
      b) against units with non-standard height (like total war does it) OR/AND
      c) initiative (basically to all/most pole-weapons)


      The halberd is chosen because
      a) the shield rule is too bad (shields should be better)
      b) the maximum AS of most infantry is too low (with so much armour modifiers it's hardly a difference if you have 6+ with halberd or 5+ with spear+shield or sword+shield)

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      DJWoodelf wrote:

      Various sources show that most lances were longer than a basic spear.
      It is not only about length, it is about the grip, too. To get the 'killing blow' effect you need to brace the spear/pike against the ground loosing significant part of its length (It is braced behind you and it rises at an angle of around 30°) . A lance armed cavalryman was able to strike pike armed soldier before his horse was hit. A single line of pikemen wouldn't stop a line of heavy cavalry. However pikemen were never deployed in a single line and here comes removing casualties rule, which works exactly the way it should.





      akaean wrote:

      I'm only briefly going to get into this whole "flank" thing. People often say "Spears aren't great on the flank, so just flank em!", Its an argument people use to try to dismiss complaints about Spear's power by oversimplifying the situation. Main combat units typically don't get flank charged by ranked opposing main combat blocks unless something goes horribly.
      Well it is about pike/spears formation being way too nimble. They were stable block of infantry but they needed to have their flanks protected either by light troops, cavalry or pieces of terrain. We miss it in T9A they are self-protecting. First of all I would ban spears 'fast reform' option (with possible exception of HE, because those are... HE). It would make them really different to other weapons. I would have other suggestions like changing skirmishers rule to make it more dangerous for huge, unprotected, clumsy infantry columns but those are out of the scope of this topic.
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      JimMorr wrote:

      DJWoodelf wrote:

      Various sources show that most lances were longer than a basic spear.
      It is not only about length, it is about the grip, too. To get the 'killing blow' effect you need to brace the spear/pike against the ground loosing significant part of its length (It is braced behind you and it rises at an angle of around 30°) . A lance armed cavalryman was able to strike pike armed soldier before his horse was hit. A single line of pikemen wouldn't stop a line of heavy cavalry. However pikemen were never deployed in a single line and here comes removing casualties rule, which works exactly the way it should.




      ....
      nice picture . thanks for sharing.
      The weapon looks like a spear...but I think the length figures in m are the important thing, right?

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      wombat wrote:

      DJWoodelf wrote:

      A human with a lance on horse charges a human with paired weapons (2 swords or whatever). Who should attack first?
      Yes but a human with a long spear would strike first. He would spear the horse. A Knight travelling at 20 to 30 MPH is therefore - in the majority of cases - likely to hit the dirt.In 9th Age I like the fact that all mundane weapons have their own advantages. Are they all historically correct - no - but it does mean that the players can choose to use what weapon they want. Anyway are spears OP ? Not in the view of the majority of EofS players who all seem to prefer the Halberd!!!

      WhammeWhamme wrote:

      Lances and Light Lances should do impact hits, yes. (And then trading Lethal Strike for some kind of bonus vs. Impact hits would be an improvement) - but spearmen should be good allrounders.
      Sorry but have to disagree. With a long spear, pike or even the Halberd the Infantry would strike first in real life. Therefore I would be against Cavalry getting impact hits.

      Did you read the entire post?

      Spears should go before Chariots slamming into the ranks too.

      Yes, they should go before Lances. They should also go before Chariots. Thus, Lances should do impact hits, and Spears should be changed to trump both.

      (We can work on Halberds too if you like; seems fair to give them the same ability)
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      WhammeWhamme wrote:

      ...
      Spears should go before Chariots slamming into the ranks too.

      Yes, they should go before Lances. They should also go before Chariots. Thus, Lances should do impact hits, and Spears should be changed to trump both.

      (We can work on Halberds too if you like; seems fair to give them the same ability)
      IMO, it's not the lances but the mounts that should do the impact hits. Charging with a lance is still an attack and you need to aim and hit. Running into an enemy formation to do impact is something at least slightly different.

      Independent from that, the problem is not the weapons but that impact hits are done at Initiative 10....which doesnt make sense.

      Even a chariot that drives into a spearwall could be broken before doing impact damage.

      But it's tricky to find the correct attack order if impact hits are included.
      I would not go for initiative 10 but either initiative 0 (so the opposite) or strike at the same time.

      But thats a topic for the thread about impact hits.
      Nevertheless we can agree or not that initiative 10 for impact hits is as weird as a model with paired weapons attacking before the same model with a spear...at least in the first round of combat.

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      DJWoodelf wrote:

      Even a chariot that drives into a spearwall could be broken before doing impact damage.
      Have you ever tried stopping a car with a stick? It is more or less what happens when you'll try to stop a chariot with spears. Sure you'll kill crew and mounts but most probably the chariot is gonna crash into the ranks nevertheless bringing havoc.
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      I think this is a very interesting topic but would also say that it's really up to the designers to implement the logic for weapons. As mentioned in other topics, games are ultimately always some form of abstraction to realism.

      Personally I think it could be really cool to have Ranged Weapons, Pole Arms, Hand Weapons and Great Weapons to function in either of these four catogaries.

      Pole Arms
      To me the Spear isn't perse a logical tool for Armour Piercing or Lethal Strike but likewise I believe that the prime reason to have AP on the Spear comes from the shortcommings that we now see on Cavalry models, because in reality a horse doesn't really increase your Armour, it just makes you 1. faster (as seen in Movement), 2. heavier (which could be implemented by impact attacks) and 3. more mobile if the mount is not armoured.
      Halberds in general are quite logically worked out for me though I do feel that they too should be capable to strike in an extra rank. This is something all kinds of Polearms usually did and do. The pro to the Halberd is that you can inflict wounds easier with it as a spear but also give up some striking speed (piercing) for it that is found on Spears.
      Pikes in essence are longer Spears, much more dangerous for the opponent to charge into but also unwieldy by comparison to the Spear.

      A suggestion for the Pole Arms from me would be:
      - Spear: One Handed Weapon, Fight in Extra Rank, +1 Iniative (to represent the reach, as reach is currently not truely represented in functional length.
      - Halberd: Two Handed Weapon, Fight in Extra Rank, +1 Strenght
      - Pikes: Two Handed Weapon, Fight in Extra Rank, +2 Iniative during the first round of combat
      - Pole Arms in general would have a Lethal Strike versus Cavalry and Chariots if Cavalry and Chariots charged the unit.

      Hand Weapons
      Again the general representation of the Hand Weapon in T9A is rather worked out well. The advantage of Hand Weapons that isn't seen currently is that they actually always functioned as secondary weapons, meaning that once the first round of combat had taken place it wasn't too uncommon to continue with secondary hand weapons who give you the striking offensive and defensive agile options that Pole Arms cannot cover.

      A suggestion for the Hand Weapons from me would be:
      - Hand Weapon: One Handed Weapon, in the second round of combat warriors can switch from their previous weaponry to Hand Weapons.
      A: Gain Parry if used with Shield
      B: Gain +1 Attack and WS if used with another Hand Weapon

      With the larger change to Parry being:
      - Parry: If you have a Hand Weapon and Shield you gain +1 WS

      Great Weapons
      Great Weapons in history usually where exactly as the name implies. A greater variant of Pole Arm or Hand Weapon, to the extend that even many agriculture tools where reforged for Great Weapon usage.
      The current variants seem to include Great Sword, Great Axe, Great Hammer and Flails, I think it wouldn't be unfair to put the Great Sword, Axe and Hammer in the same catogary, a Flail most certainly works a bit differently.

      A suggestion for the Great Weapon from me would be:
      - Great Sword/Axe/Hammer: Two Handed Weapon, +2 Strenght, -2 Iniative
      - Flail: Two Handed Weapon, +2 Strenght during the first round of combat, -1 Initiative
      - Lance: One Handed Weapon, +2 Strenght during the first round of combat if the unit made a succesful charge

      Strength modifiers
      Perhaps most importantly, to make it all work out reasonably well is the way Strenght interacts with Armour. I am a firm believer that this:

      Strenght 4-5 = -1 Armour
      Strenght 6-7 = -2 Armour
      Strenght 8+ = -3 Armour

      Works out better as the current:
      S4 = -1
      S5 = -2
      S6 = -3
      S7= -4
      S8= -5
      S9= -6
      S10= -7

      The prime reason as to why I personally would prefer the -3 Armour to be the maximum is because it reduces the strenght after effect and because of that could increase the effect of current WS. While the game would then become a bit more of a slugfest historical logic also shows us that offense still is the best defence and while plate armour most certainly is akin to a 4+ save (perhaps even 3+) it also was rarely used with just Hand Weapon and Shield, instead those equiped with it usually went for other means of weaponry.

      Charge Initiative modifiers
      It used to be there in Warhammer Fantasy and was completely removed when pre-meassurement entered the game. For me this change was always a poor one. What I think would be elegant, effective and true is:

      - Charge: A unit that makes a succesful charge gains +1 Initiative during the first round of combat.
      To counterbalance this, unsuccesful charges still move the unit as far up as the dice are rolled for. No more 'half-stepping charges'.

      Hope the idea isn't too farfetched for fans.

      *The general thing that I feel is often misunderstood with weapons is that they always have a pro and con, not a single melee weapon is just better as the other, it just gives you another set of advantages.
      For example fighting in really close corners means the reach of the Spear isn't so much of an issue. To me all melee weapons can have a logical advantage but also always bring a logical disadvantage aswell. It's currently odd to see that some weapons completely change the statistical norms of a soldier, while in reality all melee weapons are augmenting the standard strenght. Great Weapons putting you to Iniative 0 are quite illogical, likewise Spears who are always armour piercing don't make much historical sence, in most cases two handed weapons where used for that task.

      Cheers,

      The post was edited 4 times, last by JDAntoine ().

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      FWIW, chariot mechanics in this game make no sense at all. No one ever charged into combat on a chariot. Chariots were a mobility tool, mostly used by ranged attackers to stay out of the reach of melee troops before stirrups (which made mounted archery possible), and occasionally used by melee warriors in the same way later dragoons used horses - to get into position before dismounting to fight.

      The reason for this is that chariots are not stable combat platforms. The horses are vulnerable, and if the chariot actually ran into a unit of troops it would overturn and be wrecked, killing or disabling any passengers, with the horses likely quickly dead after impact if not before.

      The only chariot which was ever driven at the enemy army was sent without any person on it. (Which is why Alexander could train his army to part for the chariots and let them pass harmlessly through). This use of chariots accepted the loss of the chariot and the horses on impact in exchange for the disordering of the enemy lines, and was hugely expensive. (Only wealthy mesopotamian empires ever used chariots in this way).

      So pointing out minor inconsistencies in strike times in the chariot rules is like having housepainters paint the wrong room and you complain the color is wrong. That's the least of the problems!
      Just because I'm on the Legal Team doesn't mean I know anything about rules or background in development, and if/when I do, I won't be posting about it. All opinions and speculation are my own - treat them as such.
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      JimMorr wrote:

      DJWoodelf wrote:

      Even a chariot that drives into a spearwall could be broken before doing impact damage.
      Have you ever tried stopping a car with a stick? It is more or less what happens when you'll try to stop a chariot with spears. Sure you'll kill crew and mounts but most probably the chariot is gonna crash into the ranks nevertheless bringing havoc.
      if the mount's are killed because of running into pole weapon, the power of the impact would at least be reduced instead of still having the full impact...because the mounts dont keep running deeper into the formation.
      So the easy fix would be that impact hits have Initiative 0 but the impact hits are halved (rounding up) if the model is killed before the Inititative step.
      In fact it doesn't matter if it's a chariot or another model with impact hits (e.g. some monsters or ogres)...the impact is done by the body/chassis of the being....and this hasta shorter reach (=0) compared to all kind of weapons which at least make it possible to strike before or during the impact.


      Of course @Squirrelloid is right that the chariots in this game don't represent what they represented in history...at least 90%.
      Otherwise IMO, chariots would become obsolete in this game if the rules were 100% historical....which doesn't prevent us from creating rule ideas that at least bring us a bit closer.
      And nevertheles, chariots did damage especially if scythed...but mostly not by actually crashing into a close formation.
      I did a summary for several chariot discussion here: Chariots
      So let's move the discussion to there.

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